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Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Friday, 24 September 2010 14:18 UK
Made in Dagenham director praises pioneering Ford women

Trailer for film Made in Dagenham which is released in October 2010

The director of Made In Dagenham says his film is an official thank you to a group of ordinary Essex women who changed the world of work forever.

In 1968, a group of sewing machinists making car seats at Ford's Dagenham car plant, went on strike when their jobs were classified as unskilled.

"What amazed me was I didn't know this story," said director Nigel Cole.

"I think what is exciting about making this film, is that it is about time we celebrated this story."

The film, which is released on Friday, 1 October, stars Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson, Jaime Winstone and Kenneth Cranham.

Made in Dagenham still
Made in Dagenham is set in 1968 and tells the story of a strike at Ford

"From the word go, we thought of this as a celebration. Almost a victory parade for these 187 women," said Mr Cole.

The Essex director said meeting the women and hearing their story told with such infectious humour and irreverence made a real impression on him.

"We thought here's a way we can bring this story to a very wide audience and tell it in such a way that's important and powerful and inspiring, and also funny and entertaining.

"The idea of making a popular film that is not afraid to be funny and entertaining even though it is a serious subject, came from them. Because that's the way they tell their story.

The factory scenes were filmed in the former Hoover factory in Merthyr Tydfil.

"It was obvious from the beginning that we wouldn't be able to use the Ford factory in our film.

"The Ford factory in Dagenham doesn't really exist in the same way any more. It doesn't look the same, it's nothing like the same scale.

Bob Hoskins
Bob Hoskins plays shop floor worker Alfred in Made in Dagenham

Locals were used in parts of the filming.

"We used the Mardyke Estate which was built in the early 60s for Ford workers at Dagenham," said Mr Cole.

"A month or so later we went back to get some extra shots and they were pulling it down, so we felt like it had almost been a set and the art department were striking the set for us.

"It was very evocative that we were kind of the last people to put this estate on film."

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